Sunday, September 18, 2011

Illicit Delights ...

So, those of you that are more or less awake when you dip into these little literary efforts may recall that I once mentioned a client of ours that concern themselves with perimeter security stuff: infrared barriers, shock-sensitive fences, radar motion detectors and crap like that. Well, they've recently developed a new product to extend the range: an IR surveillance camera.

I just found out that as usual they set it up in their parking lot over the weekend to do a bit of extended testing: I'm sure you can imagine my friend Clément's pleasure when he discovered, checking the log files on the Monday morning, his first ever grainy thermal imaging grumble flick. Hope he wasn't taking his morning coffee, or he might have to get a new keyboard.

Must say that personally I can think of a few rather more pleasant places for a bit of hot'n'heavy in-car action than the front parking lot of an industrial building - especially one with pretty obvious security barriers and cameras about the place - but I suppose tastes may differ. Come to that, I'd leave out the "in-car" bit too: come a certain age, having it precariously off on the back seat of a Twingo no longer has the same appeal it might once have had. When I was a bit more supple.

And even then, the bench seats in a Mk II Cortina were uncomfortable enough for sitting in, let alone trying to lie down.

All of which reminds me that I haven't seen too many working girls along the nationale in the mornings - you know, the white vans parked on the side roads with a curtain behind the driver's seat and an electric candle burning on the dashboard. And, often as not, a rosary dangling from the rear-view mirror.

I assume that the gendarmerie have received orders to tidy the place up a bit, sweep the dust under the rug as it were.

Being a bachelor at the moment means that I have a bit of time to revisit some older recipes just to make sure that I haven't lost the knack, and it's also the opportunity to introduce them to someone else. (It means, too, that I can cook things that there's no point to cooking when Margo's around, like diots au vin blanc or quail, stuffed with rice and apricots and raisins, wrapped in bacon and roasted. Ah, these simple and not-terribly-guilty pleasures.)

So it's out with the cookbooks and the Rolodex, looking for single women of my acquaintance, and things to feed them. (Note to self: must try to borrow that little book from Sophie - Les Recettes Erotiques des Paresseuses. Purely out of a spirit of enquiry, you understand.)

Whatever, last night it was Sue's turn: I had the rest of a tin of foie gras sitting in the fridge, left over from the previous night's steak, she'd thought to bring along an incredibly chocolatey chocolate cake and I had some hampe lying around, so it seemed the perfect occasion to finish the paté with bread and then give her Thai beef salad with sweet chili sauce, and see what she thought of it.

Apparently couldn't have been too bad, for there was none left. And it wasn't Jeremy who scarfed most of it either, despite my dire forebodings. Although he moans bitterly about the quality of the school meals, and claims to prefer skipping lunch to having to eat it, he wasn't actually that hungry. Maybe he's just not that keen on rabbit food, or perhaps he was just tired: whatever, he fairly rapidly made his excuses and left. Which was, let it be said, just fine by us.

Could also be that it was his polite way of saying that he really had no particular desire to sit around and listen as Sue and I nattered on until late.

I whipped through the market by sheer force of habit anyway this morning, despite it's being bloody miserable weather (typical, of course, after a fine and sunny week), and that there's really only me to buy for this week. But this perseverance did mean that I found some beautifully ripe figs, and a nice bit of goat's cheese, and I happen to have a magret de canard in the fridge, so it would seem a good moment to redo that idea of mine wherein all these things are combined with a bit of honey.

It's a good thing then that I'm going to cook for Stacey tonight: it will expand her culinary horizons.

And there's something else I'd like to try again, just to check that it wasn't a fluke: toasted split pita bread brushed with olive oil, hot fried aubergine on top and tomato, poivron, onion and feta salsa heaped on top of that. With mint. Lotsa mint. Or basil. Depends what you have.

Also, given the time of year, it might also be a good time to head furtively down the road with a pair of secaturs and a plastic bag, to pick up the makings of a flan aux raisins for dessert.

Going back in time a bit, finally managed to catch up with Sophie for a bit over Friday lunch, outside in the sun at the Arbre à Bières. Exchanged our  news, toasted everything in sight with rosé, and did some serious damage to a couple of enormous salades landaises, heaped high with slices of pan-fried magret, warm figs and foie gras.

Let it be admitted that I really did not feel like heading back to the office afterwards.

Do we serve the divorce papers now, or wait till later?
Seems to be the season for weddings too, can't think why. A good thing really that I was on foot this morning, for one of the particularities of a big French wedding is that after the event everyone hops into their cars and drives around honking like mad things, shouting the usual ribald advice to the happy newly-weds in the lead car, and generally doing their best to produce total gridlock.

This works best, I find, when their route takes them through the main bus hub in the centre of town, with buses trying to pull in or out of the stops and totally jammed by a line of blaring cars snaking between them.

Anyway, dinner's not going to make itself, so I suppose I'd better slope off and rustle some grapes before I leave. Mind how you go, now.

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